Dustbin-free kitchens

Dustbin-free kitchens

Dustbin-free kitchens

Dealing with food waste has always proved to be a tricky issue in most homes. The food waste disposer offers the perfect solution, suggests Susheela Srinivas.

Garbage disposal has been a hotly debated topic in recent times. As we see in our homes, the kitchen is one of the biggest generators of waste — in the form of food scraps, vegetable and fruit peels, leftovers and spoilt food. All this goes into a bin, which in no time overflows and begins to reek. Our plight is multiplied if the garbage van misses to collect it even for a single day.

Many a time, we wish there was a safe and easy method to dispose off the food waste in our homes, thereby keeping our kitchen odour-free and hygienic. It’s a similar thought that prompted architect John H Hammes to pursue an idea. As a loving husband, he wanted to reduce the work for his wife and make cleaning up the kitchen a little easier. In particular, he focussed on disposing off the leftover scraps of food in a clean and mechanised manner.

Working relentlessly, he took 11 years to come out with a workable model called the food waste disposer (FWD). After a few modifications, this soon became one of the most sought-after kitchen appliances.

Currently, this is installed in more than 60% of the homes worldwide. The hassle-free mechanism can transform any kitchen into a hygienic and dustbin-free zone.

How it worksAs with many utilitarian appliances, the mechanism is simple: the waste food matter is ground to a fine paste before flushing into the drain. However, the FWD is so
designed that it does not use any sharp blades for this grinding, making it a very safe device to operate.

The basic construction includes a rotating plate with perforations (tiny holes around 2mm in diameter) and a couple of lugs called impellers fitted on to the plate, which toss and topple the food around. This is enclosed in a container-bin, whose walls are fitted with stationary grinding rings — a type of jagged wall. A motor at high speed runs to induce a centrifugal force. This keeps the waste matter tossing against the grind ring.

While spinning, the waste strikes the walls at high speeds and is chopped into bits. This continues until the waste reaches the size of the perforation, and then passes through them down into the drainage system. All this happens in a fraction of a minute, making it a handy equipment. The presence of running water helps in flushing the waste into the
common sewage system.

Another interesting factor is that the FWD fits snugly under the kitchen sink outlet, in line with the drain outlet. As a result, you need not make any major changes to your existing sink as this comes with a standard fitting and can be adapted to the sink hole.

However, a few prior plumbing and electrical requirements have to be looked into. The FWD can be fitted into a quarter bowl of a multi-bowl sink as a separate unit or into the regular single bowl sink. As with any appliance, the power ratings matter. Typically, a FWD is rated for 0.5kW or less. Since it would only be running for a few seconds, the power consumption is estimated to be less than 5 units Pa. Usually, around a mug full of water is all it takes for a single run, making the electricity and water consumption almost negligible.

Good for the environment
Having a FWD installed in your home has many advantages. One of the major benefits is that the garbage generated is disposed off at the generating point itself. As a result, it makes the kitchen more hygienic Additionally, it also puts lesser strain on the environment, as the food waste is not sent to the landfills.

Studies conducted on FWD’s output by the Water and Wastewater Treatment
Associations in various countries indicate that since the particulate matter is around 2-3mm in size and bio-degradable, it could be utilised for generating bio-gas. So, in a way, the households help generate electricity! Another advantage is that the
sediments from the disposer can be diverted and used in composting fills.

Making it last
The FWD has minimal maintenance issues and can last for a very long time. To ensure that it stays at its functional best, it is imperative that a few rules are followed:

l Never overstuff the FWD.

l Always switch the FWD on with water running. Let it run for a few seconds more for effective flushing of the ground waste.

l Do not use it as a collecting bin and then run it.

l Do not pour oils and grease into the disposer.

l Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. It can cause grease to liquefy and accumulate.

l Don’t grind large animal bones or fibrous vegetables.

l Use lemon peels and other citrus fruit peels occasionally to disinfect the FWD.
With that, getting rid of all the kitchen waste is just a matter of seconds!

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